Red Sox

Notes: Wakefield disappointed in start

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Notes: Wakefield disappointed in start

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- Tim Wakefield understood the situation.

The Red Sox were short on sleep and relievers Monday night, with Daniel Bard, Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves all unavailable due to heavy workload over the weekend.

Wakefield would have liked to take the Red Sox deep into the game Monday. But he was done after 4 23 innings, unable to keep his knuckleball down in the strike zone when he needed to most.

After Josh Reddick misplayed a ball hit by Derrek Lee into a two-run triple, the Sox stormed back and gave Wakefield a 6-2 lead in the fifth.

But Wakefield gave it back in the bottom of the inning, thanks to two homers and a two-run double.

"Obviously, (the bullpen depth) was on my mind and I'm disappointed I couldn't get us into the sixth or seventh inning," said Wakefield. "It's something that I pride myself in and it's something I want to try to accomplish and give those guys a rest and I wasn't able to do it tonight."

Wakefield's knuckleball showed great depth in the early innings but later, he left balls up to J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones and paid for it with homers.

"The pitch to Hardy, I was trying to throw a first-pitch strike and left it up," said Wakefield. "The one to Jones, I overthrew it and it didn't do anything."

Monday morning, he snapped a 0-0 tie with a game-winning single. Monday night, he snapped a 7-7 tie and hit a two-run double to give the Red Sox a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

It doesn't matter the score or the inning. Dustin Pedroia likes being up in big spots.

It wasn't easy, either, as he faced reliever Mark Worrell, who throws sidearm and hadn't pitched in the big leagues in three seasons.

"I was just trying to see it," said Pedroia. "He kind of hides the ball and then it gets on you. In that situation, I was just trying so hard to get a ball in the air because it's sinking so much. I was lucky enough to do that."

Pedroia has a 16-game hitting streak, the longest ongoing streak in the league.

"I'm just trying to have good at-bats, get on base," said Pedroia. "That's my job."

Both big hits the last two games were hit to the opposite field, but Pedroia said that wasn't by design.

"My approach is to try hit it where it's pitched," he said.

"Both (pitches) were away and I'm just trying to put it on the barrel."

Carl Crawford (left hamstring) rejoined the team Monday and was back in the lineup in his familiar sixth spot in the batting order.

He immediately made some contributions, collecting two hits in five at-bats and two runs scored.

"You just never know how things are going to turn out (at the plate)," said Crawford, who has faced live pitching only twice in the last four and a half weeks. "I thought I was going to be a little late (with his swing), but I was able to get good timing and get good pitches to handle and find a few holes."

To make room for Crawford's activation, the Sox optioned Drew Sutton back to Pawtucket.

Crawford missed almost exactly a month with a hamstring strain, but had two rehab appearances over the weekend with Pawtucket.

"I just want to see if I could move around,'' said Crawford before the game. "I felt real good out there, so I feel comfortable returning to the lineup. I'm real excited to be back on the field. It's been a while since I've been back out there, so just to be back in the action and on the field, I'm definitely excited about it.''

Crawford said before the game that the one thing he still needs to work on is his swing and timing at the plate.

"When it comes to the offense, that's the only thing I need to (work on), my timing at the plate,'' he said.

Crawford said he was "pretty much'' looking at his return as a chance to have a second start with the Red Sox.

"I want to just put the first half behind me,'' he said, "and go forward. The team's still doing well so I'll just try to blend right in. I was starting to feel a lot better (before the injury). It's just one of those things.''

The Sox made a correction, noting that Jon Lester will return to the mound Monday July 25, and not Tuesday the 26th, as wasindicated Sunday.

Clay Buchholz threw from a distance of 120 feet Monday afternoon, with a side session scheduled in a few days.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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